techdirt: Las Vegas PD Continues To Use Faulty $2 Drug Field Tests Because Convictions Matter More Than Justice by Tim Cushing:
The War on Drugs has never really been about eradicating illegal drugs. It’s been about putting up numbers: seizures, busts, indictments, convictions. A steady flow of illegal drugs into the country ensures a steady flow of tax dollars into hundreds of government agencies. Officials talk a lot about taking down cartels, but they spend more time grabbing cash from travelers and anything they can from someone who’s got nothing more on them than quantities that could be generously called ‘personal use.’ Making law enforcement’s Drug War ‘efforts’ easier and a whole lot cheaper are field drug tests: notoriously unreliable chemical cocktails that are worth every cent of $2/per they pay for them. In an earlier story about these tests, two New York Times journalists detailed Amy Albritton’s experience. Albritton spent three weeks in jail after a false positive from a field drug test determined that the caffeine-and-aspirin ‘crumb’ (roughly the size of a ‘grain of salt’ according to the lab test) was crack cocaine. For $2, Albritton lost most of her life. She served her short sentence — one she only obtained by pleading guilty — and now faces a future where her permanent record shows she’s a convicted felon.